Tuesday, November 20, 2012

CrossFit Amplify Intro Session

CrossFit Amplify WOD

Saturday morning, I headed over to CrossFit Amplify to get an Introductory Session and see what I thought - a cool thing about most CrossFit boxes (maybe all?) is that you can get a free intro session to see if you like what CrossFit is all about and to see how you feel about that particular box. We have 4 or 5 boxes within easy driving range of home, so we have plenty of options. CrossFit Amplify was my first choice as it's the easiest to get to with no train crossings, and so far I've liked the vibe a lot.

Know those butterflies you get when you're about to try something new, whether it's bungee jumping, eating a new food, or meeting your child's teacher? I had that feeling, in spades. I had no way to know what to expect, except that the participants were all sinewy, tattooed, endurance freaks (that's the common perception of CrossFit, right?). I have a couple of tattoos and have been called a freak, but in no way am I sinewy. I walked in and most, if not all, of the people there made eye contact, smiled, and said hello. Nice.

Luckily (or not, I hadn't decided), I was included in a typical Saturday morning class, rather than a one on one intro session, which would be more the norm. An actual class would really show me what I was in for, but I was also worried I couldn't complete it. Either way, I had to sink or swim.

Saturday's Workout of the Day (WOD):

In Teams of Two:
5 Rounds For Time:
  • 30 Box Jumps
  • 30 Wall Ball Shots
  • Run 140 Yards
Mike, one of the partners, and my gatekeeper to CrossFit, introduced me and we were off. 3 laps around the perimeter of the gym and then we gathered on the turf half for some dynamic stretching, moving from one end to the other. So far, so good.

Out came the boxes, set up just below the rings. These were for box jumps. Medicine balls next, against the wall across the turf from the boxes. Here we'd be doing wall ball shots. Running would be 4 times up and back on the turf -- the gym is 35 yards long. With each step, Mike went over the basics of what we'd been doing, solely for my edification, as the rest had been doing this for several months or longer. We'd be paired with another CrossFitter, so each partner could do half the workout, or, as in my case, a stronger partner could shoulder a heavier burden.

CrossFit Box Jumps
Image from "Inside the Box"

Box jumps are simple: step or jump onto a box, extend so knees are straight, step or jump down. Repeat. On a 20" box, my partner and I started with 10 jumps each, then 5, and were on our way to the wall ball shots.

CrossFit Wall Ball Shots
Image from "Inside the Box"

Wall ball shots are a little more complicated: hold a medicine ball at chest height (ours was 14 pounds), go into a deep squat, then use the upward motion coming out of the squat to toss the medicine ball up to around 10 feet or so (I think, didn't measure....). Repeat. My partner and I started even steven with 10 shots each, then 5.

Next up, running, for us a shuttle run of 4 lengths on the turf. Should be easy, except after the jumps and then the deep squats, it takes a few moments to get your running legs under you, sort of how one feels getting off the bike for a run in triathlon.

In my mind, I had us doing 3 rounds and, by the end of the 3rd round, I was sucking wind. Even though I thought I was relatively fit cardiowise, the jumps, squats, and constant motion showed me that wasn't the case. Mentally, I struggled to fathom what another 2 rounds would feel like. For the 4th round, I was no longer doing my share, instead getting about a third of the work in. I dug deep for the final round and managed to do most of my half and then, just like that, we were done. Once everyone had completed their 5 rounds (we weren't last!), we did some hip and hamstring stretching, then people slowly filtered out.

Mike and I talked a bit about what had transpired and he let me know what would happen next, if I decided to return. Next up would be 2-3 weeks of ELEMENTS -- ELEMENTS class is required for all new members. Attendance three days each week for one month is highly recommended for new members who have little or no CrossFit experience. After one month in ELEMENTS participants should have a foundation for successful CrossFit skill and workout completion. Length of time in the ELEMEnts program is dependent on each person, obviously, as to how quickly the skills are acquired.

With the holiday week, we decided that I would go back on the 27th to start my ELEMENTS program. Three days after my intro session, I am still sore, so I know that, not only did this kick my ass, it's an ass-kicking I need. Cannot wait.

If you're on the fence, I strongly urge you to try it out. It was really difficult, but also a lot of fun. I lucked in to a class where the work was done with a partner, so I had someone to push me and also to pick up the slack. Since it's free the first time, visit a few boxes (if you have the option) to find one where you're comfortable.

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  1. I love how the boxes all seem to have badass names. Ours here is Carbon. It's amazing and somewhat disturbing how one (me) can be 'fit' as a runner yet so not fit in other respects. An ass kicking is a good thing.

    1. Love the names too - the ass kicking I could do without, but definitely need. :)

  2. Sounds pretty badass. Who knows - maybe a new goal for next year.

    1. Definitely try it - CrossFit Unstoppable is in Jefferson City! http://www.crossfitunstoppable.com/

  3. I am doing my initial 'free' class this saturday at a local box, and I am feeling all the same things as you describe. A friend of mine had me do a home-grown mini-WOD, with just pushups, situps, and air squats, with some form work on the lifts at the beginning. I was sore for a week. I think I was more sore after the mini-WOD than I was for the ironman race i did at the beginning of the month.

    1. If you enjoyed the mini-WOD, then you'll love it - CrossFit is known for supportive communities and I really felt that Saturday. I know what you mean by being more sore. :)

  4. Ugh. Box jumps. Whenever I have to do anything vertical in my strength class I suffer. My heart rates gets pumping and it's not a pretty sight :)

    So excited you are going back for ELEMENTS! :)

  5. I've definitely been curious about CrossFit since I can't go an hour without hearing about it. I have been wanting to try an intro classes (which not all CFs offer, unfortunately) and it's good to know what that might look like. Great post! Now, I need to take the plunge...

  6. I haven't done an official cross fit class but have done a hybrid where we swam sprints, hopped out of the pool to do burpees, jump squats, medicine ball, etc then back in the pool for intervals. It really helped my cardio for sure. You just have to be careful that the Cross Fit folks don't over do the workout to the point of injury.

  7. i am glad you enjoyed it! i was definitely nodding my head with you throughout this post - from how you felt walking in, to how nice the people are, to how killer the workouts are! "they don't get any easier - you just get stronger".

    CF gets a bad wrap for potentially overdoing it to the point of injury - and sure, maybe it is more common than in other sports - but with any sport/fitness you have to be personally responsible for yourself. does it hurt? maybe you should stop. like when i hurt my back back in the summer, i didn't cut the wod short... not smart! you can't blame that on CF because i was too stubborn to stop and stretch/rest/etc. it is harder to 'just stop' though because of the 'friendly-competition' environment - but you have to remember that you're only competing against yourself and your own limits.

    i was sore for a week after my first WOD. sometimes i still get sore... 7-ish months later! crazy.


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